Gov Proposal: Gender Discrimination and the Wage Gap


For my white paper, I will be writing about the gender wage gap in the United States.  I intend to focus mainly on salaried workers, but depending on how my research goes I may include hourly workers.  So far, a lot of the research I have found talks about how women are at a disadvantage because they are often the caretaker of the home and children.  However, if possible, I want to avoid talking about how female’s other responsibilities interfere with pay.  Although I understand how this role in life could affect work patterns, I don’t believe this is the reason for wage inequality.  The problem here is simple: women with the same skills as men get payed less for doing the same work.

Although much progress has been made over the years, a clear wage inequality still exists.  Even after differences have been accounted for by economists and statisticians  an unexplained gap remains, which is attributed to gender discrimination.  Some try to downplay this factor, insisting instead that work patterns such as education, hours worked, or experience create the difference.  However the facts cannot be denied.  I will be arguing about how gender discrimination is the root cause of the gender wage gap.

I have already found many reliable sources for the government portion of this paper.  One main source will be the U.S. Census Bureau.  In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States.  Statistics show that women currently make .77 cents to every dollar a man makes. Another chart in a separate analysis provides a state by state breakdown of median annual earnings of full-time, year-round female workers compared to men.  Lastly, a pdf file compares the changes over time and discusses possible reasons for the changes.  Overall I believe that the U.S. Census Bureau will be of great help for my paper.  They provide reliable statistical information for current and historical years that simply presents the truth of the situation.

I also believe that the United States Department of Labor will be a good resource for me.  On their website I have found information that looks at gender wage inequality in various fields of business.  I feel this will be useful because when talking about the gender gap, many people discuss male-dominated industries as being correlated to discrimination.  They also have statistics on education-level compared to earnings. Information about women employment in general is also available and will be of use when related to hiring practices.

I currently do not have many ideas for how to enact policy that could solve these problems.  I believe that I first need to consider and research what critics against wage inequality due to gender discrimination believe.  I have found a document delivered to the Department of Labor that analyzes various reasons for the wage inequality that are not related to discrimination.  There are many interesting factors to consider including women’s negotiations of their salary, their acceptance of other forms of compensation, and the effect that taking time off for having children can have on salary.  I will try to remain unbiased throughout my investigation but I think it is fair to say that at least some of the gender gap can be attributed to discrimination.  For now, I believe that the Government aspect of this paper has provided me with reliable statistical information.  In the future, I plan on thinking about what role the Government could play in attempting to resolve these issues, and if in fact they are even capable of making a difference.

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